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Posted by moonhead on Feb 11, 2014
Review – Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition – Xbox One

Review – Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition – Xbox One

Is this next-gen remake just a trip to the plastic surgeon for Lara or a full blown overhaul?

Since its launch way back in 1996 Tomb Raider has been one of gaming’s biggest franchises. Famous for its asset heavy female lead Lara Croft as much as it’s, at the time, ground-breaking mix of 3D platforming, combat and puzzle solving. The series then designed by Core Design went off the rails in the early 2000’s mainly due to poor samey game design and an over reliance on Lara’s ‘assets’ to sell the game. The series saw a change of developer to Crystal Dynamics in 2003 and whilst their games were well received critically they never achieved the same level of hype or sales as that of the series glory years. This lead to a complete series reboot in 2013 featuring an origins story taking Lara all the way back to her first expedition. An expedition which goes horribly wrong and sees her struggling to survive on a strange island. Developed again by Crystal Dynamics they managed to humanize Lara making her more than the sum of her assets and making her a fully rounded character. The game was well received by critics and gamers alike which leads us nicely to this remake on the next-gen consoles.

So what is new for this version of last years series reboot. Well for starters there is zero new content although you do get all the DLC added but that does not amount too much more than a couple of extra tombs to explore. So really all you are getting is a next-gen facelift. However it is a truly stomb-raider-definitive-edition_002tunning facelift, with loads of new next-gen tricks on show. Lara looks as if she has been to see the very best Harley Street plastic surgeon with higher cheek bones, fuller lips and believable eyes. Also her hair is apparently animated by a new system that allows for each strand to be animated individually. The game world has also seen a set of similar improvements applied and it is all a significant improvement on the already very good-looking original. There is nothing new added to the sound and music but with the original breaking new ground for the series with high quality voice acting and music score there was little need to change anything. The new looks and already high quality sound make a very tense atmospheric game.

In terms of gameplay as has already been stated there is nothing new added from last years game so if you have already paid and played there is very little incentive to pick this up. However if, like me you missed out then there is a real gameplay treat on offer here. The game’s set in a quasi-open world with slight survival horror overtones. The island is linked together by hubs that allow you to go back on yourself to collect items previously missed. The platforming and combat are all well implemented with some RPG style ranking up and crafting of items added to the mix. However, the platforming sections are too obviously sign posted and simplified with the combat very easy. You will find yourself staring Tomb-Raider-Definitive-Edition_2013_12-07-13_001up at a section and getting excited about the climb ahead only for a cinematic sequence to take over leaving you feeling short-changed. Some of the more simple gameplay elements can be negated by increasing the difficulty level but even then the game is a little too easy. One other complaint would be that the game lacks some of the spirit of Tomb Raider with a lack of puzzles and sense of achievement in your discovering a new Tomb to explore.

At a premium price of £44.99 for a remake this is not worth splashing out on again if you have already played it on the PS3 or Xbox 360. However, if you missed it first time round then this is well worth the outlay. The game has tension and atmosphere in spades, looks stunning and with the campaign taking up to 15 hours to complete offers a reasonable return for your money.

 

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